NPR Music

Music features, reviews and "first listens" from NPR.  For WUNC's music programs,  Back Porch Music.

Cornell To Digitize A Rich Hip-Hop Archive

Dec 10, 2014

Aaliyah, Ace Hood, the Afros, Ali D, Arrested Development: In Bill Adler's extensive collection of hip-hop history, some of the genre's biggest names are arranged next to lesser mainstream artists.

Eighty Years Of Master Educator Ellis Marsalis

Dec 10, 2014

If anyone has earned the nickname Pops, it's Ellis Marsalis.

As jazz's best-known father figure, the senior Marsalis has four noted musical offspring: Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. But if you consider all the musicians he's taught or mentored, his clan is even more extensive, diverse and influential.

I talked to six musicians who gave us the long view of the Marsalis family tree, and how they were schooled by its patriarch.

In the summer of 1971, I was a camp counselor at a sleep-away camp for a bunch of 5- to 7-year-olds. For those eight weeks, I walked home with about $50. I bought a guitar and began to learn the songs I'd come to love from the recently released Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens.

"Father and Son" touched me most — it's a song about growing old, and about beliefs and conviction. More than 40 years later, that songwriter is performing at my desk with his son standing right behind me. You can never imagine the turns life will take.

It turns out that Joni Mitchell keeps the same hours as the Morning Edition staff. She recently showed up at NPR's studio in Culver City, Calif., just before midnight to discuss Love Has Many Faces, a four-disc collection of songs dating back to the 1960s.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Dream Time

Dec 8, 2014

There's more to this roots music business than high-energy dance tunes. Kick back with some soothing voices (Maire Brennan, Dougie MacLean, Karen Matheson) and some free-spirited instrumentals (Davy Spillane, William Jackson, Michael McGoldrick).

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WKRP In Perpetuity

Dec 6, 2014

Close your eyes and listen, and you might imagine someone who looks a bit like Otis Redding. Open them, and you're likely to see someone who looks more like your neighborhood bank teller.

DAY ONE

How much Bob Marley paraphernalia can you cram on a single boat?

That's no riddle. I'm sincerely pondering this as I stand in line at the Port of Miami, about to board the Norwegian Pearl. I am going on a cruise.

I am going on a cruise.

Don't ask the members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet to play the time-honored classics of the Spanish repertoire. They might play traditional Spanish style classical guitars, but they're not your standard guitar ensemble. The Dubliners are strictly devoted to contemporary music. They've been commissioning new pieces and adapting others for both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002, when the group formed at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.

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